The Many Mosels

10/30/15 -

(The great Ayler Kupp)


Within the region formerly and more descriptively known as Germany’s Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (known simply as Mosel since 2007), there are terroirs that rival any in the world for their myriad, their depth, and for yielding wines of uncompromising, ethereal tension. Precisely because of the abundance and the concentration of great sites, there are corners of the Mosel that would get top-billing in other, less terroir-rich regions. However in the Mosel, these sites are sometimes not fully considered or overlooked entirely.

Great vineyards exist outside the Middle Mosel. Great growers exist outside multigenerational family dynasties. Grapes beyond Riesling deserve to be experienced.

The wines of the Saar valley are in many stylistic ways the quintessential Mosels, the Mosel’s Mosels and within its many cloudy side valleys are some of the finest vineyards and growers in Germany. Florian Lauer (pictured above) and his vineyards in the historically famous, south by southwest facing, slate-speckled Ayler Kupp hillside (pictured above) should certainly be included in those groups.

Florian’s determination to separately vinify and site-specifically label his wines from the Ayler Kupp has been successful. The dry to off-dry 2014 wines from the sites of Unterstenberg, Neuenberg, and Stirn (shown in white blocks below) have finally arrived and we’re pleased to now offer them with tasting notes, along with a superfine and judiciously ripened (80° Oeschle) Kabinett and his absolutely delicious 2012 Sekt.

The Mosel’s viticultural challenges mean that sometimes great vineyards can only be preserved by the clarity, enthusiasm, and dynamism of a relative newcomer. Daniel Vollenweider, originally from Switzerland, started out as a simple devotee of Mosel Riesling, but quickly progressed to internships, before eventually buying vineyards, including one hectare of old-vine Riesling in the Wolfer Goldgrube (pictured below).

We’re delighted to offer Daniel’s dry and zippy 2014 Riesling Felsenfest, his dry and complex 2008 Goldgrube Riesling Trocken, and the stunningly filigreed and elegant 2008 Riesling Kröver Steffensberg.

However, the Mosel has a history that includes more than Riesling planted in slate soils. The (often overlooked) Upper Mosel offers the curious and the open-minded, a wholly different geology of Kimmeridgian limestone from the eastern edge of the Paris Basin and a grape, Elbing, which has a viticultural history that far pre-dates Riesling’s in the region.

Like Chenin Blanc or Melon de Bourgogne, Elbling’s qualities in the glass will greatly depend on strictly controlling yields in the vineyards. Matthias Hild is committed to safeguarding the viticultural tradition of Elbling in the Upper Mosel and offering Elblings of real concentration and depth.

Matthias’ showcase is a 1.6 hectare, terraced vineyard(shown above), planted with nearly 70-year-old Elbling vines, where absolutely all the work is done by hand. The resulting wine is called Zehnkommanull, which translates to “10%” because the wine always ferments dry at 10% abv or lower. The 2014 Zehn clearly shows its limestone pedigree with a gorgeous, mouth-watering minerality. This is one of my favorite apéritifs.

The Mosel, the Saar, and the Ruwer offer a range of terroirs and wines such that there, in truth for our drinking pleasure, regions within regions. We're proud to offer these great Mosel wines.

- David Salinas

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